TechRadar provides an interesting summary of comments from Google CEO Eric Schmidt at the Atmosphere Could Computing forum.
Assuming the information in the article is accurate and in context, it looks like Google may be on their way to making a huge misstep. Here are the major points I pulled from the article.
1. The first Chrome OS device are expected to arrive in 2011. Uh, 2011? Microsoft Windows 7 runs very well on current generation netbooks and has a huge library of available applications. Apple’s iPhone OS 4 will be a mature multitasking product by then with, I believe, a very healthy iPad market that sliced the netbook market by a double digit percentage during the 2010 holiday buying season.
2. Schmidt believes that Chrome OS is the first new platform in 20 years to take on Microsoft Windows. This means that Chrome OS is designed to squarely compete with netbook and notebook computers completely ignoring Apple’s iPad and even other slate type computers running Google’s own Android. I’ve been carrying an iPad instead of a netbook computer for just over two weeks now. Yes, it does not do everything a netbook running Microsoft Windows does. But, it meets my 90% of what I do 90% of the time rule. And, quite honestly, the iPad does a few things better than Windows does. IMHO, the iPad is going to eat into netbook sales and will compete directly with a Chrome OS netbook.
3. Schmidt realistically notes that a Chrome OS device will compete with the rich set of applications available to people using netbooks running Microsoft Windows. But, let’s not forget that the iPhone has well over 180,000 apps today. The iPad has over 4,000 apps designed for its larger screen today. Both numbers are unlikely to shrink in the months before the first Chrome OS device sees the light of day.
4. The price range initially mentioned in the article is between 200 and 275 British pounds. That works out to $307 to $422 US dollars using current exchange rates. This is right in the current price range for Microsoft Windows based netbooks. Given Chrome OS’ deficit in apps compared to Windows, Chrome OS devies should be in the $150 to $300 range to give consumers a strong reason to consider buying one. And, let’s not ignore the possibility that Apple may lower the iPad’s low end from $499 to $399 or lower by 2011.